Barcelona Optional Extension
July 7 — Madrid, Barcelona
Barcelona is renowned as one of the liveliest cities in Spain, and reflects a palpable history with fascinating sites from the Gothic era to the present. The city dates back to Roman times and for many centuries was one of the most important trading centers on the Mediterranean coast. Its port, Gothic Quarter, and maritime museum all serve as testament to this time frame. Yet, Barcelona is also a city of grand 19th-century boulevards lined with Art Nouveau or Moderniste buildings, and unique architecture by the renowned Antoni Gaudi. Fabulous cuisine, everyday cultural traditions, and the accents of the Catalan language make this a must for a post-tour optional extension.
Following breakfast, travel to Barcelona and check-in at your hotel. In the afternoon, set out for a guided orientation tour. Enjoy a panoramic view of the city from Tibidabo, then visit some of the best examples of Modernistic architecture, including Gaudi’s Guell Park and Sagrada Familia. The latter, a one-of-a-kind cathedral, has become one of the indisputable symbols of Barcelona. Travel along some of the city’s most celebrated avenues, such as the active and popular Ramblas (a wide pedestrian boulevard in the city’s heart) and neighborhoods such as the 19th-centuruy L’Eixample, A walk through the Gothic Quarter will take you back to a time when streets were cobbled and too narrow for cars. Conclude your tour at the Olympic City and port area, which are examples of the city’s modern architecture. Return to the hotel for dinner. (B, D)
July 8 — Barcelona
Start off the day with a visit to Barcelona’s most famous markets, La Boqueria, where you can take in the scene of vendors and local people go about their daily traditions. Continue to the Pueblo Español, a unique space on the slopes of the nearby hill, Montjuïc. The site is a blend of towns and villages recreated for the Universal Exhibition of 1929, combining art, recreation, and culture. Laid out like an urban collage, there are 117 scale reproductions of buildings that form a model of the ideal Spanish town, featuring the main characteristics of each region. A stroll around its streets and squares is like taking a trip around all the different regions of Spain. Its many restaurants also offer the opportunity to discover the various styles of Spanish gastronomy. Plus, it is home to the most important collection of craft workshops, where courses and family-oriented activities are offered. Other entertainments take place here, such as storytellers, street performers, puppets, and concerts. Enjoy part of the day here, then return to the hotel for a short lecture before dinner. (B,D)
July 9 — Barcelona, U.S.
Following breakfast transfer to the Barcelona airport for return flights to the U.S. (B)